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Measuring Libraries

I like this quote from the Official Google Blog. It’s from “Stop bouncing: tips for website success“, and it is the first post in a series on The Power of Measurement:
“Would you believe me if I said you don’t need a Ph.D. to understand your website data? No? Believe it. Free tools like Google Analytics can help simplify website data so that you can better understand what visitors are doing when they arrive on your site.”
I know many libraries are alread using Google Analytics but I sometimes get surprised at how many are not an arent’t using too many stat tools on the web presence at all! And yet they tend to know their hard copy circulation stats very well. Anyway, it’s worth a try to install this free application and get some data.
As with all Google stuff it’s largely drven by advertisers’ needs so you’ll need to interpret it for libraries but it’s a start.
The Rambling Librarian also points to some other useful measurement tools.
SirsiDynix offers some sophisticated tools and some of the regular stuff in then ILS.
SirsiDynix Symphony, Unicorn and Horizon offer sets of hundreds of pre-formatted reports on activity in the system. That’s pretty normal. If a report doesn’t exist they can often be written by yourself or by our consulting practice.
SirsiDynix also offers SirsiDynix Web Reporter . It is an extremely easy-to-use for the staff member who just needs to run pre-developed reports. At the same time, it offers great capability for the “power user” to create new or customize existing reports.
And lastly, our most sophisticated tool that includes the ability to import any kind of data as well as your ILS and Website data we offer SirsiDynix Directors Station. This is a pretty neat scenario modeling tool that allows for sophtsicted modelling of transactions, financial and user behaviors.
All of these tools work with all of our current ILS offerings.
Numbers. I hate them viscerally – probably because of awful math training in elementary school – but I know I’m not in good shape unless I have the numbers to back up my assertions of the power of libraries. During this time of economic disruption(s) all libraries have to get great at being numerate and providing proofs. It’s all about playing the game.
So, no matter what type of library you’re in, make sure you’ve got your house in order on this issue. Who is in charge of the numbers? Have they been trained in all facets of where your numbers come from? Can they create great measurements showing impact or is it just sheaves of statistical gibberish? Measurements of transformations are more powerful and positive than statistics showing expensive effort (and where to cut). And lastly, can you get your data into a visual format that shows what’s happening to your advantage? If we want a bigger piece of a shrinking pie we might want to get good at making prettier and more powerful pie charts and bar charts.
Do you have the tools you need to succeed?
Stephen

Posted on: February 23, 2009, 4:41 pm Category: Uncategorized

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